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Australia v England
W.A.C.A. Ground, December 14-18, 2017
3rd Test - Australia v England Test Series 2017/2018
|England 1st Inn||403 all out|
|Australia 1st Inn||9/662 d.|
|England 2nd Inn||218 all out|
|England won the toss and elected to bat.|
|Australia win by an innings and 41 runs|
|England||Over: 72.5 RR: 2.60|
|Last Wicket:||C.R. Woakes, 22 (c. Paine b. Cummins) - 10/218|
Australia look to be in a commanding position at the end of the third day at the WACA, having built up a 146-run lead with six wickets still on hand.
Steve Smith and Mitch Marsh remain at the crease at the end of the day with 229 and 181 runs to their names retrospectively.
At the start of the day, England would have given themselves a good chance to remain even-stevens by stumps, much like they had done at Gabba.
Little would they have known what was in store for them, especially after having grabbed the early wicket of Shaun Marsh.
The bloody-mindedness of Steve Smith and Mitch Marsh’s surprising retort to being dropped from the side changed all of that for England.
What made it worse for England was it wasn’t like Australia gave them chances. No dropped catches throughout the day, and hardly an appeal.
The pitch? It looks docile at this stage but let’s also say that it was tough to decide what looked more dead, the surface or the English bowling.
The rain forecast notwithstanding, Australia need to bat one session and bash England out of the game with another 120-odd runs.
Scores at end of day
Steve Smith holds the controls of the direction in which the WACA Test could head at the end of the second day’s play in the third Ashes Test between Australia and England. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage of Day 3 at the WACA from 1:30pm (AEDT).
A 237-run stand for the fifth wicket seemed to have taken England into a position of near invincibility but a typical collapse left them with only just enough runs to make a match out of this.
At four for 368, they looked to have run away with the encounter, with Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow leading the side to that position with centuries to their name.
But the problems that have afflicted them throughout the series came back to haunt them as they lost the last six wickets for 36 runs to fold up for 403 batting first.
What followed the English bitter-sweet innings has been the story of the series; the tourists have been able to make early dents to the Aussie innings but they haven’t really gotten through the middle-order and test the potentially more brittle lower half.
Make no mistake, they still have a chance going into day three of the Test. But standing between them and a rare chance of winning a WACA Test is captain Smith yet again, who was unbeaten on 92 at stumps.
The early wickets of David Warner and Cameron Bancroft obviously pegged Australia back but Usman Khawaja’s century stand with his skipper brought parity to the proceedings.
Shaun Marsh was at the crease with his skipper when the day ended, and with Australia still trailing by 200, things look interestingly poised.
An early Smith wicket could trigger an English resurrection but if the Australian captain holds THE fort for most of the first half of the day, the hosts could well run away with the game.
The Test match is still in anybody’s hands but going into the third day, Joe Root wouldn’t want to think of what-if-they-had-scored-500, an objective that had looked very achievable for most of their innings. Their bowlers could hold the key.
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